CATTLE GENETICS company World Wide Sires has opened its American training centre to dairy farmers from the UK. Offered through World Wide Sires UK, the idea is that US experience can help UK producers improve performance and profits in UK herds.
The Global Training Centre has already played host to its first tranche of UK trainees, including farmers, vets, nutritionists, representatives from milk buyers and dairy farm consultants.
Located in Washington State, the GTC specialises in advanced dairy management training and advanced reproductive training. Each programme focuses on eight days of intense activity and operates in collaboration with five dairy herds, ranging in size from 1000 to 24,000 cows.
“These two programmes provide the perfect opportunity for any UK farmers, farm workers or agriculturalists to learn from the leading American producers and trainers,” said Mike Halliwell, business development manager for WWS UK who is handling delivery of the training. “These producers have been through the pain of low milk prices which have beset their industry for around 20 years; we now have the opportunity to learn from the best of those who survived, and understand how they did it.”
Elizabeth Custer from Kite Consulting was part of the first UK group to invest in the training. Amongst her take-home memories, she said that successful working protocols should be as relevant for 100 as 10,000 cows and that – since fertility and reproduction are the highest drivers of milk production – the course reinforced the value of highly skilled reproductive technicians.
“In my opinion, the success of this course revolves around the fact that the training is carried out on farms which are independently serviced by two of the GTC vets,” she added. “This creates a level of commercialism and relevance which buys credibility – in other words, the farms used for training want the GTC team on their facilities.”
Mr Halliwell added: “Yes, WWS is a genetics company, but we have a role, a responsibility and actually a self-interest, in helping our customers to stay in business,” he said. “Farmers know they can buy their genetics from many sources but if we can help them get the most out of that product through better management, we can certainly help them to meet the challenges dairy farmers will face in the years ahead."